The 34th National Eye Donation Fortnight was observed by Narayana Nethralaya across the country to increase awareness and encourage eye donation. Termed as “Accelerated Laksha Laqshya”, this annual observance aims to reach One Lakh corneal transplants by 2020. The commemorating event held today was flagged off by a bike rally and attended by eminent leaders from the Indian Armed Forces and Chairperson, Karnataka State Human Rights Commission. Poster making and blindfolded clay modelling activities were also held in which over 250 children from 12 schools participated.
Highlighting the gap between the demand and supply, Chairman and Managing Director of Narayana Nethralaya,Dr. K. Bhujang Shetty said, “In Bengaluru alone, there are close to 300-400 deaths per day but out of these less than 8 eyes are collected. It is deeply saddening to see this huge gap. Corneal Blindness can be treated only through transplantation from eye donations since there is no substitute for human tissue.It is crucial for everyone to not only come forward to donate eyes after death but also work for eye donation by educating and enrolling friends, families and extended circles on to this noble cause. Narayana Nethralaya eye banksare open 24/7. We request you to inform us immediately after death,for the eyes need to be collected within 6 hours of death. We can be reached at 9741685555 and 9902821128.”
“Approximately 57,000 eyes are collected across India, whereas there are approx. 15 Lakh people in the waitlist for corneal transplant. In the past year, 4,500 eyes were collected in Karnataka, Bangalore accounts for 70% of Karnataka’s collection and Narayana Nethralaya accounts for 40-45% of Karnataka’s collection. This year until August, Narayana Nethralaya has collected 1,181 eyes, bringing our total to 13,045. Additionally, 57,500 eyes have been pledged to Narayana Nethralaya since 1993. We have trained many people in various districts across Karnataka and set up eye collection centres in Doddaballapura, Madhugiri and Mandya.As a result of decades of awareness campaigns, Narayana Nethralaya’s Dr. Rajkumar Eye Bank now ranks Number Onein eye collection among Eye Banks in Karnataka for 2018-2019, and our Doddaballapura Collection centre ranks Number One across the country.” Added Dr. K. Bhujang Shetty.
Appreciating the donors across the country, Chairperson, Karnataka State Human Rights Commission, Former Chief Justice of Karnataka, Odisha & High Court of Bombay,Justice D H Waghela said, “Over 1,50,000 people die in accidents every year in India. If every one of those were to donate their eyes, we would be able to eradicate corneal blindness in India. Like Harish Nanjappa whoselast words were to donate his eyes even after being brutally dismembered in an accident, is now immortal through his action, everyone can continue to live after their death by providing sight to at least two other people.”
Signifying the importance of spreading awareness across all spectres of healthcare, District Programme Manager, National Programme for Control of Blindness & Visual Impairment, GoI, Mr. Madhusudan said, “We aim to promote eye donation by improving coordination between private hospitals and the government hospitals. In the next three months, we plan to start eye collection centres in all district hospitals. We will support Narayana Nethralaya in every way possible”
The event was graced byAir Marshal TD Joseph VM VSM, Senior Air Staff Officer TC, IAF Bengaluru; Lt Gen MKS Yadav SM, Commandant, ASC Center & College; CMDE Sudhir Gopalakrishnam, Station commander, Navy Bengaluru; Gp Capt S K Mittal VSM, Group CEO, Narayana Nethralaya; and M B Gurudev, Officer In Charge, NN’s Doddaballapur Eye Collection Centre. Families of donors, recipients of corneal transplants, and heads of eye collection centres were also present for the event.
The annual Harish Nanjappa award was presented to Dr Shrinivasa H Lfor the highest number of eye donations. Documentaries on eye donations, celebrity endorsement videos and presentations on optimal use of donated eyes were also showcased at the event.